Councillor Sood holds a BA, MA, LLD and D.Litt. During her PHD in India, she was part of a high profile research programme with the world renowned John Hopkins University. Unfortunately, after two years in to her PHD, she took a sabbatical due to her marriage and did not have the opportunity to complete this. Councillor Sood arrived in the UK in 1970 and has been living in Leicester ever since. Once in Leicester, Councillor Sood attended Leicester University where she completed her Post graduate training.
Upon qualifying as a teacher from Leicester University, Councillor Sood was a primary school teacher for almost 20 years which, was a benchmark at the time, as she was one of the first Asian female teacher in Leicester in 1973.
During her time as a teacher, Councillor Sood was instrumental in introducing multiculturalism in to local education and her services were recognised by a visit to her class by the then Secretary of Education, the Late Sir Keith Joseph.
Journey in to Politics
Councillor Sood entered politics through supporting her late husband, Councillor Paul Sood in his political career. Paul was one of the first ethnic County Councillor’s in the country when he was elected in 1982 and served the citizens of Leicester for almost 14 years before his untimely death in 1996. Councillor Manjula Sood stood and won with an impressive majority at Paul’s by-election, setting a precedence by becoming Leicester City’s first female Hindu Councillor.
Councillor Sood faced and successfully overcame many challenges during her early political career, as she had to juggle learning politics with supporting her two children and looking after her elderly mother. She quickly adapted and has flourished and achieved an array of accolades and commanded the respect of her fellow Councillor’s and the community of Leicester City.
Councillor Sood has worked with many MPs during her political career, The Right Hon. Patricia Hewitt, former Minister for Health, The Right Hon. Keith Vaz, the Late Jim Marshall, Sir Peter Soulsby and Lord Janner QC.
Benchmarks for Councillor Sood
• UK’s and Leicester’s first Asian female Lord Mayor from Thursday May 15th 2008 to May 2009
• The first sitting Lord Mayor in Leicester to receive an MBE (Member of British Empire) for community work in Leicester
• First sitting Lord Mayor of Leicester to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Leicester University July 2008
• UK’s first Asian female High Bailiff from May 2007 to May 2008 again serving from 2015 to 2016 and 2016 to 2017
• First Asian Female to receive the Leicester and Rutland Women of the Year Award for 2006
• Leicester City’s first Hindu female Asian elected Councillor, a position held since 1996
• One of the first female Asian primary school teacher in Leicester in 1973
Councillor Sood holds and has held the following positions:-
• Sport England East Midlands Regional Champion
• Chair for the Leicester Council of Faiths, which promotes a better understanding among faith
• Vice Chair and Women’s Officer for the Constituency Labour Party (CLP)
• Member of the Asian Refuge Shelter, assisting Asian women going through turmoil in their
• Member of the Afro Caribbean Working Party
• Member of the Standard and Audit Committee of Leicester City Council, safeguarding the
Audit Commissions’ Code of Conduct which, elected members of the council and council
officials must abide by
• Member of Children and Young Persons scrutiny committee
• Trustee of the North Memorial Homes in Leicester, a charity created for war veterans
• Vice Chair and Public Relations Officer for Fibromyalgia, a charity for which the Minister of
Health, Rt. Hon Patricia Hewitt is the Patron
• Active member of the Leicester Domestic Violence Forum
• Active member of the Older People Forum, where she raises the political profile of older
people, locally and nationally
• Member of the Faith Regeneration Advisory Group, actively engaged with developing a multi
faith centre in Leicester
• Member of the Inter Faith Network UK since 1995
• Chair of numerous Mental Health regional conferences and member CSIP (Department of
Health Care Services Improvement Partnership)
• Chair of Narilets, an organisation solely created with a vision to enhance the skills and the
experience of ethnic minority women in Leicester encouraging them to be more immersed in commerce, successfully securing funding from the National Lottery
• Non Executive Director at Leicester Glenfield Hospital for three years from 1998 to 2001 for
the NHS Trust
• Vice Chair of Equal Opportunities, Education and Social Services for Leicester City Council
• Chaired Leicester City Council’s Health Commission
• Governor of Leicester College of Further Education
• Governor for the Trinity Hospital in Leicester, she was primarily responsible for raising
concerns and managing the needs of elderly residents as well as ensuring spending was within
the assigned budget.
Councillor Sood has championed the following initiatives for the community of Leicester:-
• Organiser for liaising with the Indian High Commission to come to Leicester on a monthly
basis to issue visas
• Founding Member of Narilets
Councillor Sood is involved in the following community activities:-
• Mentors numerous children and teenagers, encouraging them to overcome anxieties and
fears relating to academia issues
• Partaken in many General and Local election campaigns
• A regular fund raiser, managing to raise enough funds to donate a Fluid Warmer Cabinet for
the Accident and Emergency Unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary in 2001
• Contributor for the Great Ormond Street Children’s hospital in London
• Contributor for LOROS, a Hospice in Leicester
• Sponsor’s children in India via Action Aid and Sai Organisation
• Selected to carry the Queen’s Jubilee Baton Relay during the Commonwealth games in 2002
• Vigorously involved with raising the awareness of Mental Health
• Member of the Good Values Group, promoting core Human values in the community
• Vigorously involved in cultural exchanges with faith centres
• Holds dedicated weekly advice surgeries for constituents
Councillor Sood believes that the only way to achieve unity among diversity is through spirituality and that “hands that help are holier than lips that pray”.